Music Reviews

Electric Ladyland

Clickhop Version 1.0

Mille Plateaux

When art meets commerce, the end result is often conformity. Music, like the movies, is all-too-often a victim of this phenomenon (perhaps because of the tremendous profits made from both), where original acts have imitators before they even release anything. Dance music, in all its different forms, probably has the greatest problem with the imitation virus. Perhaps, this is the reason new electronica genres spread like VD at a Caligula party. Even still, originality’s hard to come by.

Enter Electric Ladyland. No, this is not a tribute compilation of Hendrix covers – though it may be an homage to the guitarist’s experimental genius. The Ladyland project lets the world’s little-known-yet-talented and up-and-coming DJs and producers let it all hang out, to threw the baby out with the bath water and see what sticks to the wax. Though firmly grounded in breakbeat and hip-hop, the music here defies definition (which becomes increasingly harder to do with electronic music) as beats are not chopped, but mutilated, and every found or imagined sound’s utilized within the music.

The idea sounds more formidable than the music, though. there are cases (like DJ Spooky and Yasunao Tone’s “Another Forensic Charade” or Andreas Tilliander’s “Hastjobb”) where these artists’ freedom leads them off into the discordant ether. Most of the two-CD set, though, is firmly grounded in the dance floor. So, even with the ’50s sci-fi theremin effects of The Rip-Off Artist’s “Hydrocracking,” you can still feel yourself moving. In fact, it is quite surprising how danceable Electric Ladyland is, since it is supposed to be so experimental. One does not know whether to applaud those artists for not losing their audience in the mire of esoterica like their free jazz predecessors or to be disappointed in their inability to obliterate electronic music’s current boundaries.

Mille Plateaux: http://www.mille-plateaux.com


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